Hatke, Ben: (01) Zita the Spacegirl

Zita the Spacegirl cover I got Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl for SteelyKid, but wasn’t on her bedtime rotation the night she finished it, so flipped through it myself quick.

This graphic novel is really charming. Zita and her friend Joseph are playing and find a mysterious device with a big red button in a crater. Zita, of course, pushes the button; a portal appears, tentacles grab Joseph and pull him through, and then the portal closes. Zita takes a moment to freak out and then jumps after him.

On the other side of the portal, she finds many different aliens on a planet that’s going to be hit by an asteroid in three days. She explores the planet and collects friends and allies in her quest to rescue Joseph (picking up a superhero-style costume along the way, as you can see on the cover).

I love Zita’s bravery, active nature, and loyalty to her friends. And the art is great, clean but detailed enough to show off the inventiveness of the worlbuilding. (The author’s site has four one-page comics about Zita and friends, which give a good sense of it.)

SteelyKid enjoyed it, by the way, but according to Chad was somewhat taken aback by the fact that the end of the volume concluded a story but not the story. So we’ll be acquiring the next two volumes (it’s a just-completed trilogy) pronto and will report back.


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  1. It’s this month’s Sword & Laser Kids selection, a Laser month. Although one of the discussions is how magical most kidlit SF is. My boys liked this one, and they want to see the latest book.

  2. This Sword and Laser?

    Glad to hear that your boys liked it, and either that the book’s been successfully packed to have no “girl cooties,” or you’ve raised them to not care about such things, or both!

  3. This one: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/126108-sword-laser-kids . A librarian/dad started (with permission) a kidlit spin-off a few months ago.

    I like to take credit for the no girl cooties thing, but I’m not sure how much I had to do with it. The older one is fairly socially clueless (Asperger’s diagnosis) and it never occurred to him to care. And the younger one takes his reading clues from the older one.

    I love that they read books across a lot of different spectrums — they still like books from their youth, including Dragonbreath stuff by Ursula Vernon (does SteelyKid like those?) and even ancient favorites like Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggy or Rylant’s Mr Putter. The older one was reading along with Rachel Manija’s diversity book club, and it turns out that he is just as bored with gay romance as with straight ones.

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